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News Archives for March 2015

Valve Announces the Vive VR Headset, Built by HTC

Posted: March 1, 2015 @ time: 11:07AM
Author: bp9801

A recent rumor is now reality, as Valve has unveiled a new virtual reality called Vive. This VR headset is designed by HTC (dubbed a "strategic partnership" between the two) and will be available later this year, however a developer edition launches this spring to get games supported as fast as possible. The developer edition headset uses two 1200x1080 displays with a 90 frames per second refresh rate, which HTC says helps to eliminate jitter in order to produce lifelike scenes. The displays work together to give you a 360-degree field of view, with HTC claiming the Vive is the first headset capable of a "full room-scale" experience. Users can explore their environment by walking around, interacting with objects, and actually feel like they're in the virtual environment.

Each Vive headset has a gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor to track your movement to give that full experience, with head movements tracked to within one-tenth of a degree. The headsets work in tandem with SteamVR, a base station that enables you to walk around the environment instead of moving a joystick. Movements are tracked in an area up to 15 feet by 15 feet, which should be plenty big enough for nearly any room it will be in. HTC does say the Vive is lightweight so wearing it for long periods of time won't tire out users, and while the developer edition features headphone jacks, the consumer edition may have built-in audio. Accomplishing that and staying lightweight will be interesting to see, but it looks like HTC and Valve are getting things figured out.

A pair of wireless controllers come with the developer edition (and presumably the consumer edition) to track hand movements, which can let you do tasks like opening doors and picking up objects to firing a weapon. The Vive is meant to enhance games, but it can also be used for other things, like watching movies or TV shows, or even navigating the Web to view concerts, museums, and more.

More information on the Vive virtual headset will be available during the Game Developers Conference, which runs all this week in San Francisco. HTC and Valve will have some units on hand for attendees to check out.

Source: The Verge


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Android Captures 81.5 Percent of Global Smartphone Market in 2014

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 05:33AM
Author: gebraset

According to data listed within a new report by International Data Corporation, Android successfully claimed 81.5 percent of the global smartphone market last year. The report notes that Samsung shipped more units that the next five vendors combined, allowing the company to remain the top original equipment manufacturer of Android-powered smartphones. Last year alone, the mobile operating system by Google saw a total increase of 2.8 percent in regards to global market share. Despite Android dominating the smartphone market on a global scale for 2014, iOS was able to secure 14.8 percent market share, down slightly from its 15.1 percent share in 2013. Unfortunately for Windows Phone and BlackBerry, both did very poor overall, as the mobile operating systems only made up 2.7 percent and 0.4 percent market share for the global environment, respectively.

Source: IDC


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Enthoo EVOLV ITX Chassis Announced by Phanteks

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 05:57AM
Author: gebraset

Phanteks, a developer of CPU coolers, fans, and chassis, has officially announced the Enthoo EVOLV ITX chassis, a Mini ITX case that fits directly within the EVOLV lineup in the Enthoo Series. The latest case by Phanteks, which is quite similar to the already available Enthoo EVOLV case, offers a minimalistic design along with a wealth of premium features, such as a side panel window, a metal exterior, multiple fan filters, top mounted radiator support, and a multi-functional mid plate bracket for a reservoir, pump, and SSD/HDD. The Enthoo EVOLV ITX, which measures 9.1 x 14.8 x 15.6-inches, supports videos cards up to 13-inches in length and comes included with one PH-F200SP fan and a front I/O port.

The Enthoo EVOLV ITX will be available to purchase sometime this month and features an MSRP of $79.99.

Source: TechPowerUp


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SanDisk Reveals 200GB microSD Card

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 06:13AM
Author: gebraset

SanDisk has revealed its latest microSD card that packs a total of 200GB of storage, making it the highest capacity microSD card ever produced worldwide. According to SanDisk, the latest storage breakthrough was made possible by utilizing a proprietary design and production process that allows for more bits of memory per chip. Although the company did not reveal details of the production process, the ability to store 200GB of information on a device so small is quite a technological feat, since the latest microSD card offers 56 percent more storage than a 128GB microSD card, the highest capacity currently available. SanDisk notes that the card offers data transfer at up to 90MB per second, which is the equivalent to roughly 1,200 photos per minute, making it ideal for a wealth of applications.

The 200GB microSD card from SanDisk is expected to be available in the second quarter of this year and will retail for $400 at launch.

Source: PCWorld


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Improving Radio-Chip Efficiencies

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 07:53AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Efficiency is important for just about all electronics, and that is not going to change any time soon. In fact if we do see the Internet of Things become a reality, efficiency is going to be key to connecting all of our various devices and appliances. To that end, researchers at MIT have developed a way to significantly improve the efficiency of radio chips by reducing off-state leakage.

Semiconductors are interesting electronic materials as they possess both conductive and insulating properties, which can be switched on and off. Because they are not perfect insulators, the transistors made of them can leak some energy when they are in their off-state. To improve the insulating properties, the researchers push a negative charge into a wire running across the transistor, as this stops the electrons that would otherwise leak out. A charge pump is used to create the negative charge.

As you may have guessed, this negative charge does take some power to produce, but at the cost of 20 picowatts, some 10,000 pW can be saved. If devices are going to start having sensors and transmitters built in to build an Internet of things, such efficiency will practically be a necessity.

Source: MIT


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 10:09AM
Author: bp9801

A new week and a new month is here at last, with some items along the way to get your Monday started right. There is a review of the SilverStone Raven RV05 case, which once again features a unique internal configuration and an exterior design that resembles the first Raven. We also have a look at the Corsair Carbide Series 100R case, an inexpensive unit that still comes loaded with plenty of features. If you need a way to keep your CPU cool, then perhaps the Cooler Master Nepton 240M all-in-one liquid cooler is the one for you. For those in the market for a new keyboard, the Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL with its Topre switches provides a unique typing experience. Rounding out today's items is the Dell Venue 8 7000 Intel-powered Android tablet.

Cases
SilverStone Raven RV05 @ PC Perspective
Corsair Carbide Series 100R @ ThinkComputers

CPU Cooling
Cooler Master Nepton 240M All-in-One Liquid Cooler @ PC Perspective

Keyboards/Mice
Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Gaming Keyboard @ Madshrimps

Laptops/Tablets
Dell Venue 8 7000 @ TechSpot


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Unreal Engine 4 Now Free

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 11:51AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

You read the title correctly, Unreal Engine 4 is now free for everyone to download, and future updates will also be free. Previously the engine was available by a $19 per month subscription, but now anyone can use it and the various resources about it. This includes access to the source code. All Epic Games requires is a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3000 is earned by a shipped game or application.

The reason behind this strategy change, as explained in the blog post linked below, is that Epic Games has been so impressed by the creativity of those using UE4 so far, that the company chose to remove the "last barrier to entry." When the company asked for projects to show off at this year's GDC, it received over 100 that were "good enough to show," but had to pick just eight. Current subscribers are going to be issued a pro-rated refund for their most recent month's payment, and everyone who has ever paid will receive a $30 credit to the Unreal Engine Marketplace.

Source: Unreal Engine


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Google Plans to Enter Wireless Carrier Market

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 04:30PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Google is finally addressing the rumors that it was going to become a wireless carrier by confirming the speculation at the Mobile World Congress earlier today. Senior VP Sundar Pichai said the company would enter the market on a "small scale" as a mobile network virtual operator (MNVO). As an MNVO, Google would purchase access from larger carriers like Sprint and then sell its own plans. Google will treat the new project as an experiment similar to the Nexus phone, with plans to expand the service likely contingent on its success. Pichai also mentioned that Google will launch its first drones as part of Project Titan later this year. Project Titan and Project Loon, which uses balloons instead of drones, are efforts to help spread Internet access to the more than four billion people without it.

Source: Mashable


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Mushkin STRIKER SSDs Now Available

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 04:38PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Mushkin first unveiled the STRIKER line of solid state drives at CES 2015. The STRIKER line is powered by the Phison PS3110-S10 quad-core SSD controller, offering read and write speeds up to 565MB/s and 550MB/s, respectively. The drives are available in capacities of 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB from authorized retailers such as Newegg. Director of Product Development Brian Flood described the drives stating, "STRIKER is aptly named for its purpose: to mark its place as the premier high-performance solid-state drive series. The STRIKER will allow its users to experience highly-accelerated application load times, boot performance, multimedia editing, and general usage."

Source: Press Release


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AMD's Mantle API Nearing Its End; Not Dead Yet

Posted: March 2, 2015 @ time: 08:59PM
Author: bp9801

AMD's experiment with its Mantle API may be nearing its end, as a recent blog post by AMD urged developers to focus on DirectX 12 and next-generation OpenGL (glNext). Raja Koduri, Vice President of Visual and Perceptual Computing at AMD, wrote a blog covering the future of Mantle and APIs in general. Koduri went over the levels Mantle reached, with five game engines and ten premium applications making use of it, but also focused on the future for Mantle. And the future, it seems, is rather bleak.

AMD will no longer release the Mantle SDK to the public, but Koduri did not say that Mantle is completely dead. It will live on, albeit in a seemingly reduced role. The company will be making a 450-page programming guide available later this month as a sort ofsmall consolation prize. AMD hopes the guide gives developers the chance to see what Mantle could do and possibly generate ideas to be used in the future for other APIs.

The upcoming Battlefield: Hardline will still make use of Mantle, with AMD providing EA all the resources it can to make it a success. Koduri also said the openness of Mantle will broaden, but full details of that will come this Thursday at GDC 2015. Even though the Mantle SDK won't see a public release, AMD will still make it available for partners that register in the co-development and evaulation program to figure out APIs in the future. For everything else, there's DirectX 12 and glNext.

Mantle may be at its end, and while it never saw the major support the likes of DirectX and OpenGL garnered, it has been successful in some aspects. One in particular was getting DirectX and OpenGL to innovate and get with the times. AMD saw an inefficiency in how DirectX was using the CPU, which Mantle corrected. The upcoming DirectX 12 addresses that and other shortcomings, so in that regard Mantle was a success. GlNext hasn't been fully unveiled yet (should happen this week), so we'll have to see exactly what all that incorporates, but it's supposed to be a complete reworking of OpenGL to make it modern.

Source: AMD Gaming Blog


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ECS Announces LIVA Short Film Contest

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 05:02AM
Author: gebraset

ECS, a motherboard manufacturing company based out of Taiwan, has announced its first ever worldwide "How do you LIVA" short film contest. The contest is centered on the company’s LIVA X desktop, a Mini PC that has been available for roughly two months and features an incredible amount of technology packed into a small and efficient package. The contest is open to virtually anyone and seeks to find the most creative individuals who can portray in just 90 seconds how LIVA X can make life better. Participants in the "How do you LIVA" short film contest are competing to win a grand prize of roughly $4774.87 and an invitation to participate in Computex 2015 in Taiwan.

Details about the ECS LIVA short film contest, including contest stages and additional award information, can be found on the official contest website.

Source: Press Release


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Radeon R7 260X iCafe OC Graphics Card Introduced by Sapphire

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 05:17AM
Author: gebraset

Sapphire has officially introduced its latest graphics card offering, the Radeon R7 260X iCafe OC, that is aimed at valued oriented builds. This graphics card includes a full length, dual-slot cooler and offers a cooling solution that features a copper core base, a plethora of aluminum fins, and an 80mm fan. The Radeon R7 260X iCafe OC comes with 896 Graphics CoreNext stream processors, a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, core clock speeds of 1050MHz, and 2GB of memory clocked at 5GHz. The card is powered by a single 6-pin PCIe power connector and includes one DisplayPort 1.2a, one dual-link DVI, and one HDMI 1.4a.

Source: TechPowerUp


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Protecting Computer Chips with QR Codes

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 06:57AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

We have all grown used to QR codes, most likely, as these codes are used in a variety of places to provide useful information or links to whoever pulls out their smartphone. They may be getting a new use in the future though, thanks to researchers at the University of Connecticut who want to use them to secure computer chips.

Believe it or not, but there are counterfeit computer chips being made out there, possibly with the purpose of making money but also to compromise security systems. Just a few years ago over 100 cases were revealed by a Senate Armed Services Committee report and fixing the issues of the counterfeit, Chinese electronics cost some $2.675 million. To try to prevent that from happening again, the Connecticut researchers suggest encoding vital statistics about computer chips into QA codes that are placed on the chips. By encrypting the data and compressing it all into the code, so an Internet connection is not required, the chips can be authenticated.

To further improve security, the researchers used a random phase photon-based encryption system to make the image hard to duplicate without knowing the appropriate codes. Instead of the white and black designs we may find around us, the resulting image can be microns in size and resemble a night sky with a few dots of pixelated light.

Source: University of Connecticut


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HyperX Releases FURY DDR4 Memory and Additional Predator DDR4 Kits

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 11:06AM
Author: gebraset

HyperX, the high-performance product division of Kingston Technology, has just released its FURY DDR4 memory line. The latest product line from HyperX offers value oriented consumers with high performance, maximum reliability, and great aesthetics. The FURY DDR4 memory line is compatible with the Intel X99 chipset, is available in 2133MHz, 2400MHz, and 2666MHz frequencies, comes in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB kits, and features a low profile, black heat spreader color and matching PCB. FURY DDR4 memory operates at 1.2V for maximum power efficiency, is completely factory tested to ensure reliability, and comes with a lifetime warranty that includes free technical support.

Along with the release of FURY DDR4 memory, HyperX has expanded its high-end Predator DDR4 family, which was recently overclocked to a world record, with 32GB and 64GB kits in order to cater to performance driven enthusiasts.

Source: Press Release


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Wave-Particle Duality Imaged for First Time

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 03:23PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Even though Einstein is best known for his theories of relativity, it was his paper on the photoelectric effect that earned him his Nobel Prize. A central concept to this paper was that light exists as both a particle and a wave, which was actually a matter of debate for centuries as different experiments can show it as one or the other. That limitation of experiments to show either the wave or the particle nature has continued until recently as researchers at EPFL have finally designed an experiment that shows both.

To finally catch light as both wave and particle, the researchers turned to electrons to capture the image. First a laser pulse was fired at a nanowire, causing its electrons to become excited and radiate light around the wire as a standing wave. Next the researchers fired a beam of electrons near the wire, because as they pass through the light, they will speed up or slow down. The image the researchers took showed the standing light wave, confirming the wave nature, but at the same time showed quantized energy packets. This indicates that the electrons were interacting with photons, the quanta or particle of light.

This is the first time the paradoxical nature of quantum mechanics has been directly demonstrated by an experiment, and will definitely impact fundamental science. It could also have applications with future technologies, like quantum computers, with its ability to image and control quantum phenomena.

 

 

Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne


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Enlighten 3 Lighting Engine Demonstrated at GDC

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 04:38PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Geometrics, a company owned by ARM, revealed its next generation lighting engine, Enlighten 3, at the Game Developers Conference. The third iteration of the software "offers a unique method of implementing advanced dynamic lighting inside of digital content, which not only improves the image visually as compared to the older Enlighten technology, but also offers significant performance gains." Developers will be able to create realistic lighting effects in their games while also giving a "greater amount of control over the direction, angle, and lighting level as a result." As part of the engine, Geometrics has also released a tool called Forge to make it easier to include the new features in games. Forge is currently compatible with the Unreal Engine 3 and 4 with plans to expand to other engines in the future.

Source: Toms Hardware


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Sony Virtual Reality Headset to Launch in Early 2016

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 04:51PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Sony has announced an updated design and hardware specifications for the PS4 powered virtual reality headset known as Project Morpheus. The hardware updates center around the viewing apparatus with a larger 5.7" screen operating at 1920x1080 with a refresh rate of 120Hz. The field of view has also been increased to 100 degrees with latency lowered to 18 milliseconds. Project Morpheus has an expected release date sometime in early 2016 with no price announced.

Source: Engadget


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Khronos Group Unveils the Vulkan Graphics API

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 04:55PM
Author: bp9801

The Khronos Group has taken the wraps off its next-generation OpenGL API and have given it a name: Vulkan. Vulkan, previously known as glNext, is a low-overhead API to enhance multi-threaded 3D development, so different threads can prepare batches to send to the GPU at the same time. Developers will now have more control over creating commands, with things like memory and thread management handled by the developer instead of the video driver. This will let the driver do less work than it does now, which could help overall performance. Vulkan is made with modern hardware in mind, with complex GPUs and CPUs that have multiple threads to handle more load.

Vulkan, like OpenGL, will work across operating systems and hardware vendors, so everyone can benefit from what it offers, including mobile users. One thing different between OpenGL and Vulkan is how the latter handles shader programs. OpenGL would require every driver to have a full shader compiler for things written in the GLSL shader language. However, Vulkan takes a page from Direct3D, and has the shaders compiled into SPIR-V, which is then what the drivers will use for shaders. SPIR-V is an update to SPIR 2.0 and has been developed alongisde Vulkan. SPIR-V combines graphics and computation; so regardless if its a graphical shader written using GLSL, a computational shader using OpenCL C, or any other language, SPIR-V compiles them all and is the only thing the video driver has to use.

Valve and other developers will show off early engines built using Vulkan during GDC 2015 this week. The final specification and drivers for Vulkan won't appear until later this year. Even with the advent of Vulkan, OpenGL isn't going away, as Vulkan is a lower level control that may not be a good fit for everything used by OpenGL. It's kind of like DirectX 11 and 12, where both will exist at the same time based on which developers need what aspects. However, as seen yesterday, AMD's Mantle is effectively going away, since both DirectX 12 and Vulkan do what Mantle did, just not restriced to only AMD GPUs.

Sources: Khronos Group and Ars Technica


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NVIDIA Announces the SHIELD Android Gaming Console

Posted: March 3, 2015 @ time: 11:30PM
Author: bp9801

NVIDIA has a new entry in its SHIELD line of products with the simply named SHIELD. We already have the SHIELD Portable and SHIELD Tablet, but the SHIELD is an Android gaming/TV console that can stream TV shows, movies, and games at up to 4K resolutions. The SHIELD runs on the new NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor, which features a 256-core Maxwell GPU and an eight-core 64-bit ARM CPU, along with 4K support at 60Hz. It is NVIDIA's most powerful Tegra processor yet.

The SHIELD supports 5.1/7.1 audio over HDMI, features an HDMI 2.0 port so it can output 4K at 60Hz, has two USB 3.0 ports and one micro-USB 2.0 port, and includes 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO. It also has Bluetooth 4.1/BLE, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot that supports up to 128GB cards, and a Gigabit Ethernet port so it can be hard wirded. Oh, and the GPU features 3GB of VRAM, so it certainly doesn't lack in that department.

This Android-powered console is the gateway to NVIDIA GRID, the company's game streaming service that it calls  the "Netflix for Games." It is powered by a team of GeForce GTX GPUs to deliver games to you at 1920x1080 with 60 frames per second. More than 50 games can be streamed with GRID, like Batman: Arkham Origins, Metro: Last Light Redux, and more, with new games added each week. Additionally, GRID can purchase and stream games coming out later this year, like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Batman: Arkham Knight.

Along with NVIDIA GRID, the SHIELD can play the hundreds of Android games already available, including over 50 titles optimized for the SHIELD itself. Games like DOOM 3: BFG Edition, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and Crysis 3 are among those 50, with NVIDIA promising fast speeds thanks to that Tegra X1 chip. To play all these games, each SHIELD comes with a SHIELD controller. A remote control can be purchased separately, as well as extra controllers and a vertical stand for the SHIELD.

Both the NVIDIA SHIELD and NVIDIA GRID will launch this May, with the SHIELD coming in at $199. NVIDIA GRID is subscription-based, with a free tier to simply play those 50+ games, and a premium one that lets you buy and stream games immediately. The exact subscription price is not known at this time, but expect that information before long.

Source: Press Release


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ZOTAC Reveals Steam Machine SN970

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 05:11AM
Author: gebraset

ZOTAC, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards and mini-PCs, has officially revealed the Steam Machine SN970. This latest product by ZOTAC, which of course features Valve’s SteamOS, aims to bring the gaming experience to the living room, allowing PC gamers to enjoy the latest titles through their home entertainment center instead of a desk. The Steam Machine SN970 offers premium components to ensure maximum performance, such as a 6th generation Intel CPU, a discrete NVIDIA GTX level graphics card, a 64GB M.2 SSD, a 2.5-inch 1TB HDD, and 802.11ac wireless. With all of this technology, gamers are able to connect up to four displays to further immerse themselves in their favorite video game titles, which can be enjoyed with the included Steam Controller. According to Tony Wong, the CEO of ZOTAC International, "We have employed the latest Intel CPU and NVIDIA GPU technology so gamers can keep the graphics sliders on ultra, and enjoy smooth, 4k gaming."

Source: Press Release


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Epic Games Set to Deliver Keynote Concerning the Current State of Unreal Engine

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 05:28AM
Author: gebraset

Epic Games, who just recently announced that the latest version of the incredibly popular Unreal Engine is now free for everyone to download, is set to deliver a keynote at GDC 2015 in the coming hours. The keynote, which will take place between 9:30AM and 10:30AM in San Francisco, California, will include thoughts about the initial launch of Unreal Engine 4 and will also dive into the current state of the engine itself. Developers of all disciplines and skill levels are being invited to attend the event, which will be given by Tim Sweeney, the CEO and Founder of Epic Games. For individuals who cannot attend the event in person, the keynote will be available through the popular Twitch streaming service.

Additional information about the keynote can be found on the official GDC 2015 website.

Source: Press Release


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Quantum Radar Coming Closer

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 07:23AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Science fiction has long been providing us with devices capable of seeing otherwise invisible objects, and some of these technologies have come to exist. In the future we may see a new technology emerge called quantum radar that puts quantum mechanics to work catching things we cannot see. Researchers at the University of York have recently built a prototype quantum radar system that has potential for finding low reflectively objects, such as cancer cells and stealth aircraft.

Traditional radar works by sending out a microwave signal and capturing what bounces back. Objects with low reflectivity pose a problem though, as little comes back, and if there is a lot of noise in the area, finding something is going to be even harder. Quantum radar however couples a microwave beam to an optical beam, making it much more sensitive to small reflections, even in a noisy environment. What the York researchers specifically did was develop a special converter for entangling the two beams, for emission, and converting the microwave beam into an optical beam, for collection.

The researchers do acknowledge that quantum radars are still a ways off, but they could have a large number of applications. This includes non-invasive biomedical applications for analyzing proteins and acids, which expose patients to less radiation thanks to the low number of photons being used.

Source: University of York


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 10:11AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here, with plenty of items to help get you over the hump. There is a review of the Noctua NH-U9S Compact heat sink, which promises lower noise and compatibility with all motherboards and RAM. We also have the ASUS STRIX TACTIC PRO gaming keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches to see if it will become your new keyboard of choice. For the gamers there is a look at the Homeworld Remastered Collection and what kind of performance it offers on various setups. There are also a couple of items from GDC 2015, with one looking at AMD's LiquidVR SDK to deliver better VR performance, and another examining Vulkan, SPIR-V, and OpenCL 2.1.

CPU Cooling
Noctua NH-U9S Compact @ Frostytech

Keyboards/Mice
ASUS STRIX TACTIC PRO Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Gaming
Homeworld Remastered Collection: Graphics and CPU Performance @ TechSpot

Miscellany
AMD LiquidVR SDK Aims for Silky Smooth VR on all Headsets @ PC Perspective
GDC 15: What Is Vulkan (glNext), SPIR-V, and OpenCL 2.1? @ PC Perspective


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MSI Unveils Its PAX East Lineup of Products, Including New Laptops and Motherboards

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 10:52AM
Author: bp9801

PAX East kicks off this weekend in Boston, but MSI is giving us all a sneak peek of what it will be showing off at the convention. Everything from laptops to motherboards, video cards, and all-in-one PCs will be on display, along with a few interesting items to build up MSI's market share. The GT80 Titan SLI gaming laptop features a mechanical keyboard, the first in a laptop, while the GS30 Shadow laptop can be hooked up to a new docking station. The docking station is called the GamingDock, and it's a large unit that can fit any desktop video card you want inside it to seriously beef up the laptop's gaming potential. MSI will also have the GE62 Apache gaming laptop that has an NVIDIA GTX 965M and a dual exhaust system.

For the motherboards, MSI has the Z97A GAMING 9 ACK, Z97A GAMING 7, X99A GAMING 9 ACK, and the X99A GAMING 7. All four feature support for Type-A USB 3.1, which is twice as fast as USB 3.0, with the two Z97 boards also featuring Type-C USB 3.1 ports. Those Type-C ports feature a reversible connector so the USB plug no longer needs to be facing the correct way or exist in the fourth dimension. Each motherboard has two USB 3.1 ports, which are also backwards compatible.

Switching over to video cards, MSI has the GTX 900 GAMING series, with the GTX 980, 970, and 960 all featuring the company's Twin Frozr V cooler. There are even limited edition GTX 970 and 960 cards that have an NVIDIA Green cooler on them instead of the typical color scheme. MSI also has a black and white cooler on the GTX 960 2GD5T OC card, which pairs up nicely with the company's Z97S SLI Krait and X99S SLI Krait Edition motherboards. If you're going to be running two video cards together, perhaps MSI's new premium SLI bridge is for you. It supports 2-Way SLI and LED backlighting that can be controlled via the MSI Gaming app.

Finishing off MSI's PAX East showcase are some new all-in-one gaming PCs. The AG270 2QC 3K features a 27" WQHD IPS panel with a 2560x1440 resolution, and is powered by an Intel Core i7 CPU and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M video card. It also has Yamaha speakers for blasting your favorite tunes or getting you closer to the game. There is also the Gaming 24GE PC, which sports a 4K resolution for some truly impressive visual power. It's powered by an Intel Core i7-4720HQ and a GeForce GTX 900 Series video card, and features a Nahimic Audio Processor to increase its audio output.

All of these and more will be available at the MSI booth at PAX East, which runs from March 6 to 8 at the Boston Convention Center. MSI will also have some League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches to win some prizes, as well as daily raffles with SteelSeries products, t-shirts, MSI components, and even a laptop from iBUYPOWER.

Source: Press Release


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Experience How the World Changed in Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 11:33AM
Author: bp9801

Prepare to journey back in time with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, MachineGames' just-announced prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order. The Old Blood takes us back to 1946, with BJ Blazkowicz on a new adventure to explore the events that lead up to The New Order. This prequel features eight chapters and two interconnected stories that should help to show exactly what happens to set up the world as it is in TNO.

The first story of The Old Blood is Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves, with Blazkowicz heading back to Castle Wolfenstein to steal the coordinates to General Deathshead's compound. Castle Wolfenstein has a crazy prison warden running it, so it certainly won't be a walk in the park. The second story is The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs, as the coordinates send Blazkowicz to the city of Wulfburg. There he finds a Nazi archaeologist obsessed with finding mysterious artifacts that will blanket the world in a dark and ancient power.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood arrives on May 5 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One at a mere $19.99. Bethesda will have live gamestreams from PAX East on both Friday and Saturday at 10:30am EST on its Twitch channel.

Source: Bethesda Blog


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Engraving Wires in Topological Insulators

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 03:27PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Topological insulators are a curious family of materials, as they are capable of conducting electrical currents on their surface, but highly resistant through their bulk. By exploiting their properties, many new technologies could be developed involving spintronics and quantum computing. Now researchers at TU Dresden have discovered how to engrave wires into TIs.

Currents on a TI follow very small channels in the surface, and in the case of Bismuth-Rhodium-Iodine, these channels are connected to one dimensional steps at the edges of atomic layers. The physics of TIs keep electrons flowing along these channels from jumping to others, which is why there is so little resistance to these currents. What the Dresden researchers have done is engrave new channels into a TI, effectively etching wires into the surface. This discovery will help us understand the exact physics behind topological insulators, which is necessary for using them in future technologies.

Source: Technische Universität Dresden


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Epic Games Reveals the 'Thief in the Shadows' with the GTX TITAN X

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 03:32PM
Author: bp9801

Earlier today Epic Games revealed it would be holding a keynote address at GDC 2015 that would cover the state of the Unreal Engine and what the future holds. Evidently the future is quite large, as Epic Games is partnering up with Weta Digital, Oculus, and NVIDIA to push virtual reality to a whole new level. Showcasing this new VR possibility is a demo featuring the "Thief in the Shadows" scene from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. In it we see the great serpent Smaug in his gold pile, talking to the person wearing the Oculus Crescent Bay prototype headset as if the person is actually there with Smaug under the mountain. It is an impressive experience that is made possible with a brand new toy from NVIDIA: the GeForce GTX TITAN X.

The TITAN X is the latest iteration of the company's powerhouse card, with a Maxwell GPU, eight billion transistors, and a 12GB framebuffer. Full details of the TITAN X are still under wraps until NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference later this month, but CEO Jen-Hsun Huang sounds positively excited about what it can do.

NVIDIA's new card enables the "Thief in the Shadows" demo to run at 90 frames per second on the Crescent Bay headset. Smaug is brought to life before your very eyes thanks to Unreal Engine 4, and sounds like he's right in front of you, too, thanks to the Oculus Audio SDK. Coins clink and fall as Smaug shifts around, his breathing fills your ears, and his massive 500-foot frame dominates your vision when he reveals himself.

Attendees of GDC 2015 can check out the "Thief in the Shadows" demo at the Epic Games, NVIDIA, and Oculus booths. The GTX TITAN X may make an appearance, too, but remember, the full details of that massive card will be revealed in two weeks.

Source: Press Release and NVIDIA Blog


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Valve Announces Hardware and Software at GDC

Posted: March 4, 2015 @ time: 05:50PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Earlier this week, we posted about the Vive virtual reality headset from Valve, addressing rumors from late last month. The Vive wasn't the only piece of hardware that Valve brought to GDC, as the Steam Link streaming device made its first appearance. The Link will stream games from an existing PC or Mac on your network to a television at up to 1080p 60Hz. The streaming feature will make it easy for gamers that want to play games on their larger screens without moving their computers next to their TVs. Multiplayer games could benefit most from the expanded viewing area. The Steam Link will have a price of $49.99 and won't come bundled with a Steam Controller.

Valve also brought news of its next generation game engine, Source 2, joining other upcoming engines such as Unity 5 and Unreal Engine 4. Valve will be offering Source 2 completely free to developers and content creators, with the only requirement being that anything made with the engine must be made available on Steam in addition to any other platforms. This will still give Valve its normal 30% cut from Steam sales, but should be favorable to developers that can't afford any upfront costs for a license.

Source: Tech Spot and Rock, Paper, Shotgun


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G303 Daedalus Apex Performance Edition Gaming Mouse Announced by Logitech

Posted: March 5, 2015 @ time: 07:49AM
Author: gebraset

Logitech has officially announced the Logitech G303 Daedalus Apex Performance Edition Gaming Mouse, the company’s latest addition to its extensive line of gaming peripherals. The Logitech G303 successfully combines the stellar weight of the G302 with the amazing sensor found in the G502. Together, these characteristics provide gamers with a lightweight and premium gaming mouse that delivers the best of both products. The Logitech G303 features a massive DPI range from 200 to 12,000, includes an exclusive metal spring tensioning system, offers left and right click buttons that have been tested for 20 million clicks, and boasts full-color RGB lighting.

The Logitech G303 Daedalus Apex Performance Edition Gaming Mouse features an MSRP of $69.99 and is expected to go on sale sometime this month. 

Source: TechPowerUp


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Terahertz Filter for Improved Data Transmission

Posted: March 5, 2015 @ time: 07:50AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

I would rather not guess how many 2.4 GHz signals are passing through my body right now, with the various wireless devices just within arm's reach. While this frequency has served us quite well, to further increase bandwidth it may be necessary to go to high frequencies. Potentially frequencies in the terahertz range could be used, and researchers at the University of Utah have recently created a new filter that could help bring about the necessary technologies.

As the name suggests, terahertz frequencies are one thousand times greater than gigahertz frequencies, which means they could result in one thousand times more bandwidth. There are some issues to be addressed first, including creating filters for isolating specific frequencies. What the Utah researchers have found is that certain computer-generated designs can be used to print these filters with silver-metal ink from a conventional inkjet printer. Such filters would be necessary for creating the multiple wireless channels our various devices use.

There are still other issues to address though, including terahertz sources requiring line-of-sight and having a relatively short range. However many are still working to overcome these issues and wireless terahertz chips have been used to achieve impressive download speeds.

Source: University of Utah


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DirectX 12 Offers 20 Percent Improvement in Graphics Performance

Posted: March 5, 2015 @ time: 08:21AM
Author: gebraset

Gamers have known for quite some time that DirectX 12 will not only be exclusive to Windows 10 and offer improved CPU utilization, but that the latest version of the Microsoft API will also offer increased graphics performance. What has been unknown however is just how much DirectX 12 will improve graphics frame rates, until now that is. According to Microsoft executives, the latest version of DirectX is expected to offer a 20 percent improvement in graphics performance, meaning that games that may be on the verge of being unplayable may actually be enjoyable. Bryan Langley, a principal program manager for graphics with Microsoft, stated an Intel press conference at GDC that the increase in performance is equivalent to getting a free hardware upgrade.

With Windows 10 being a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users for a limited time after its release, and with DirectX 12 being supported on a plethora of graphics cards currently available, it seems like the increased performance will make its way to plenty of gamers.

Source: PCWorld


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AIDA64 Released for Android

Posted: March 5, 2015 @ time: 08:36AM
Author: gebraset

FinalWire, a Hungary-based software development company, has just released AIDA64, a popular PC diagnostic utility that provides detailed information about hardware and software of individual or networked computers, for Android devices. The Android version offers different diagnostics than the PC version, of course, but manages to provide a wealth of hardware, software, and network information to users. The key features of AIDA64 for Android include CPU detection with real-time core clock measurement, OpenGL ES GPU details with real-time GPU clock measurement, screen dimensions and pixel density information, camera information, battery level and temperature monitoring, Wi-Fi and cellular network information, memory and storage utilization, Android OS and Dalvik properties, an Android Wear module, and a complete list of installed applications, codecs, and system directories.

AIDA64 for Android is compatible with devices running Android 2.1 or later and is available to download immediately from the Google Play Store.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: March 5, 2015 @ time: 10:11AM
Author: bp9801

A new day is here, with plenty of items for you to check out. We have a review of the Sentey Eagle Plus case, which is a mid-tower case that offers plenty of room inside and enough features to keep anyone happy. There is also a look at the Noctua NH-D9L CPU cooler that packs a dual-tower design into a fairly small package. Kingston's HyperX Savage 16GB DDR3-2133 gets tested to see if it should have a new home in your system. If you want plenty of storage on the go, then maybe the VisionTek USB Pocket SSD 120GB is the one for you. We also have the Sentey Revolution Pro SP gaming mouse, which has nine programmable buttons and an 8200DPI to appeal to nearly everyone. Finishing off today's items is the Griffin iTrip Aux & iTrip Bluetooth that should help pretty much every car connect to whatever smartphone you have.

Cases
Sentey Eagle Plus @ Bjorn3D

CPU Cooling
Noctua NH-D9L @ ThinkComputers

Memory
Kingston HyperX Savage 16GB @ Bjorn3D

Storage/Hard Drives
VisionTek USB Pocket SSD 120GB @ Bjorn3D

Keyboards/Mice
Sentey Revolution Pro SP @ Bjorn3D

Gadgets
Griffin iTrip Aux & iTrip Bluetooth @ ThinkComputers


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EA Shuts Down Maxis Emeryville Headquarters

Posted: March 5, 2015 @ time: 11:59AM
Author: bp9801

The time has come once again for Maxis, as EA has shut down the studio's Emeryville headquarters. Maxis has been moved around before, as its original Walnut Creek, California, studios were closed in 2004, with staff moving to Redwood City and Emeryville. Now the Emeryville location is closed, with all its staff being allowed to seek opportunities in other Maxis locations, namely Redwood, Salt Lake, Melbourne, and Helsinki. The Maxis Emeryville location's most recent work was the rebooted SimCity, which was met with criticism after its 2013 launch and online debacle. No word on just how many employees from Emeryville were layed off, but hopefully they can find new homes before long.

Development on SimCity, The Sims franchise, and The Sims 4 in particular will continue, however it appears some members of The Sims team will be layed off from the Redwood location.

Source: Polygon


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Black Phosphorus has Great Potential for Optical Communication

Posted: March 5, 2015 @ time: 03:51PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Even since the discovery of graphene, many have been searching for other two dimensional materials and what special properties they may possess. In the case of black phosphorus though, it has been known about for over one hundred years, but only recently has its potential been explored. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered that it could be a new wonder material for optical communications and more.

The characteristic that perhaps most sets black phosphorus apart from graphene is its tunable band gap. While graphene lacks a band gap, making it a conductor, black phosphorus is actually a semiconductor, and the size of its band gap is dependent on its layer count. This opens up possibilities for use in computers and in optics, as the band gap influences how a material interacts with light. Because the band gap is tunable, so are the frequencies black phosphorus can absorb or emit. To test its real-world potential, the researchers built a photodetector using black phosphorus and succeeded at transmitting data at three billion (3,000,000,000) bits per second. As this is the first time such a photodetector has been built, you can expect that speed to increase.

The potential of black phosphorus extends beyond super-fast downloads because it is a direct-band semiconductor, which means it can efficiently emit light from electrical signals. This one material could potentially be used to both transmit and receive high speed optical signals between computers and within computer chips.

Source: University of Minnesota


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Intel Makes Several Gaming Related Announcements at GDC

Posted: March 5, 2015 @ time: 05:25PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Intel was at the recent Game Developers Conference and it showed off a number of "programs, tools, utilities and games that will take advantage of the latest Intel technologies." The company unveiled the first 5th generation Core processor with integrated Iris Pro graphics. The chip is expected to be available midway through this year and will operate at 65W, with partners such as Acer hard at work on small form factor systems utilizing the new CPU. Intel has also contributed to the development of the next generation of graphics by "helping define and support new programming models like DirectX 12 and Vulkan." Intel has targeted mobile gaming by working directly with Ubisoft to optimize the Cosmos mobile engine for x86 processors.

A partnership with the Raptr gaming utility was also announced, and will bring support for Intel Graphics to the service for the first time. The Achievement Unlocked program seeks to "help game developers succeed when creating games that target Intel Graphics hardware, Intel Core processors, and Intel Atom processors." Developers in this program will have improved technical assistance and communication with Intel. Intel is also working with developers Codemasters, Flying Mollusk, and Funcom to improve the performance of their games when used with Intel hardware.

Source: Intel


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GIGABYTE Unveils X99 Gaming 5P Motherboard

Posted: March 6, 2015 @ time: 06:21AM
Author: gebraset

GIGABYTE, a pioneer in the motherboard industry, has officially rolled out the X99 Gaming 5P, the company’s latest addition to its vast motherboard lineup. The X99 Gaming 5P is quite similar to the already available X99 Gaming 5, but differs in that it offers native support for DDR4-3200 XMP profile, includes a different brand of chokes for the CPU VRM, and features a "CPU mode" switch between 2011-pin and 2083-pin socket modes. The X99 Gaming 5P is also an E-ATX form factor motherboard, while the X99 Gaming 5 is an ATX motherboard.

Pricing and availability of the X99 Gaming 5P has not yet been announced by GIGABYTE.

Source: TechPowerUp


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Google Launches Auto Insurance Comparison Service in California

Posted: March 6, 2015 @ time: 06:44AM
Author: gebraset

Earlier this year, it was reported that Google would likely launch an auto insurance comparison tool in the United States. After various delays, Google has announced that it has officially brought its auto insurance comparison tool to fruition for a limited number of Americans. Known as Google Compare Auto Insurance, the server, which can be accessed from a quick Google search for “car insurance,” takes information such as vehicle details, driving history, and physical location, and provides coverage details and quotes from various providers. Unfortunately, Google Compare Auto Insurance is only available to California residents at this time and does not offer quotes from GEICO or Progressive. According to Google, the list of providers that it supports is set to grow in the future, and the company plans to bring the auto insurance comparison service to additional states sometime this year.

Source: PCWorld


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NVIDIA’s HBAO+ Gains Traction Amongst Developers

Posted: March 6, 2015 @ time: 07:12AM
Author: gebraset

As video games continue to advance, lighting and shadows remain a critical component for maximum realism within a virtual environment. NVIDIA has recognized this in the past with its release of HBAO+, an advanced form of ambient occlusion that successfully accentuates small surface details and adds soft shadows to a scene. The advanced form of ambient occlusion by NVIDIA is gaining traction amongst the game development community, as it continues to be utilized in games built with CryEngine, Dunia 2, IwGame Engine, Source, Unreal Engine 3, Unreal Engine 4, and other proprietary game engines. WhiteMoon Dreams, the developer of Unreal Engine 4 title Warmachine: Tactics, successfully implemented NVIDIA’s HBAO+ in roughly an hour, and World of Warcraft even supports the most advanced form of SSAO after a recently released patch. 

Due to HBAO+ being middleware, the ambient occlusion technology is easy for developers to implement within their titles. As such, NVIDIA is expecting a wealth of upcoming games to support it, especially since HBAO+ works on GPUs from NVIDIA and its competitors.

Source: NVIDIA Blog


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Finding New Ways to Improve Energy Storage

Posted: March 6, 2015 @ time: 07:15AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Electrical energy storage is a big deal as so many technologies are completely reliant on batteries and/or capacitors. This is why so much work is being done to better understand how the storage systems work, to hopefully improve current technologies, or develop new ones. Now researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered how graphene-based supercapacitor electrodes change when in use.

The environments within many energy storage systems can be very hazardous, which has limited our ability to peer inside and see what is going on. Only recently have techniques been developed to watch how electrodes and electrolytes behave while in operation. Now the LLNL researchers have created an X-ray adsorption spectroscopy method to see how the interfaces between electrode and electrolyte in a graphitic supercapacitor behave while charging. This kind of supercapacitor was used because it is stable and very well understood both experimentally and theoretically.

The researchers were able to observe the changes to the electronic structure of the electrodes, while in operation. Potentially these changes could be used to tailor more efficient electrochemical energy storage systems.

Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: March 6, 2015 @ time: 10:08AM
Author: bp9801

The first week of March is drawing to a close, but before it does we have some items for you to explore. There is a review of the Patriot Viper 4 DDR4 16GB 2800MHz kit (OCC reviewed the 3000MHz kit) to bring a large amount of speed and performance to those in need of DDR4 RAM. We also have a few under $70 cases from SilverStone, Corsair, and In Win tested to see which one should win your money and house your new system. For those looking to get into the home server market, we have a look at the Thecus N4310 Soho/Home Linux NAS Server for all your storage needs. Finishing off the week is a unique case mod built with the CaseLabs SMA8.

Cases
3-Way Budget Mid-Tower Shootout @ TechSpot

Memory
Patriot Viper 4 DDR4 16GB 2800MHz @ Bjorn3D

Storage/Hard Drives
Thecus N4310 Soho/Home Linux NAS Server @ Madshrimps

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Snef's Bloody Angel @ ThinkComputers


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New Device for Correcting Quantum Errors

Posted: March 6, 2015 @ time: 02:51PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

We are approaching a revolution in computing, when the first quantum computer is built and allows new kinds of algorithms to be run. Much has to be done before then though, including error detection and correction schemes. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have recently developed just such a scheme that is the first capable of correcting its own errors.

At the heart of quantum computer's capabilities are the qubits it uses to store and process information. Unlike traditional bits that can represent a 0 or 1, a qubit, or quantum bit, is able to exploit superposition to represent 0 and 1 at the same time. Superposition, like other quantum phenomena, is very fragile, so qubits are prone to flip or losing their information, hence the need of systems to prevent that from happening. The California researchers' solution was to build a device of nine qubits that protect the data each other holds. By repeating the error detection and correction process, the data can be preserved for longer than a solitary qubit can.

While this is definitely an important tool, more work is needed including ways to guard against other kinds of error, such as one call 'phase flip.' The researchers also want to see what happens when the error correction cycles are made to run for greater amounts of time, and if this results in new kinds of behavior.

Source: University of California, Santa Barbara


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Microsoft Sees Windows 10 as a Way to Reconnect with PC Gamers

Posted: March 7, 2015 @ time: 01:47AM
Author: bp9801

Microsoft seems rather excited about its upcoming Windows 10 release and what it means for consumers on all platforms, but it is also admitting a past mistake. The company was once a go-to for PC gamers, with Microsoft-created games and hardware among some of the popular products of the day. However, once the Xbox arrived everything at Microsoft shifted to that, and PC gamers, quite frankly, got the shaft. During GDC 2015, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, stated the company lost its way with the PC gaming crowd and sees Windows 10 as a way to get back in their good graces (and possibly DirectX 12, too). One part of that is Microsoft's snazzy new HoloLens will be out during Windows 10's lifespan and Spencer sees it as a "full Windows 10 device." Playing games in augmented reality sounds like a solid way to get back our support, but that's not all Microsoft intends to do.

The company will also bring Xbox Live to Windows 10, with developers getting a toolkit to implement Xbox Live into their Windows 10 games. Spencer said Xbox no longer refers to just the console, but "gaming with Microsoft" as a whole. Games should be able to work across the devices, regardless if its a PC, tablet, smartphone (maybe), or Xbox One, with gamers being able to see their friends list and play against each other. It is an ambitious plan, and hopefully the reality is far better than the company's last attempt, Games for Windows Live. GFWL tried to do the friends list aspect and the occasionaly play together across PC and Xbox 360, but it was horribly bloated, buggy, and downright frustrating. Combine those with the fact that GFWL was initially a paid service to access the best features, and we have the issue of PC gamers suddenly being charged to do what they've done for free for years.

Hopefully Microsoft acknowledging it has lost its way with PC gamers and Spencer's comments about integrating Xbox Live into Windows 10 proves successful. None of us want a repeat of Games for Windows Live, and luckily it seems there is hope on the horizon. Microsoft's Larry Hryb a.k.a. Major Nelson recently said Xbox Live on Windows 10 will be free. It really was the only course available to Microsoft, and it is fantastic to see that's the case. After all, upgrading to Windows 10 within a year after it arrives will be free, so why not have Xbox Live follow suit? Console owners aren't overly happy about it, as to be expected, but at least PC gamers won't have to pay for features other services (Steam, Origin) provide for free. It is a step in the right direction for Microsoft and PC gaming as a whole, and hopefully one that pans out in the long term.

Source: Business Insider and PC World


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Virtual Reality Demos at GDC Powered by NVIDIA Titan X

Posted: March 8, 2015 @ time: 01:52PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Virtual Reality technology made a big splash at the Game Developers Conference, with demos from Valve, Oculus, and Epic Games. All of these demos were powered by the next generation NVIDIA GTX TITAN X video card, which the company had initially planned to reveal two weeks after GDC at the GPU Technology Conference. NVIDIA made the decision to break the news early to help its partners power their VR demos, with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang delivering the card to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney during his keynote speech. NVIDIA also announced improvements to its own VR Direct software with support for SLI to use one card for each eye.

Source: NVIDIA


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AMD Plans To Unveil Radeon R9 300-Series at Computex

Posted: March 8, 2015 @ time: 02:05PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Rumored specifications for the upcoming AMD Radeon R9 300-series graphics cards began to leak early last month, and there are new rumors that hint at when the official announcement of the new cards will be. Sources have indicated that AMD is planning to introduce the new cards during Computex in June. There were some initial plans to release a single new card at CeBIT and a few re-branded cards before Computex, but senior management demanded a "full line up" of cards to be released at the same time. The new cards could be what AMD needs to recover from a year that saw NVIDIA take significant market share in the GPU market with AMD CFO Devinder Kumar stating, "We are confident that as we get into the second half of 2015 with the launch of that [new graphics] product, we will gain back the market share which is low from my standpoint and historically."

Source: Kit Guru


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CD Projekt RED Shows Off The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at PAX East

Posted: March 9, 2015 @ time: 04:25AM
Author: gebraset

Although CD Projekt RED announced late last year that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was delayed 12 weeks, pushing back its release date to May 19, 2015, the game remains highly anticipated. Gamers looking to run the game upon its release can be sure that their system meets the minimum requirements listed by CD Projekt RED, but until then, can view the latest gameplay released directly from PAX East. The gameplay, which is roughly seven minutes in length, shows off what Geralt happens to do best in a world filled with combat and magic.

Source: Polygon


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ROG GR8S Steam Machine Announced by ASUS

Posted: March 9, 2015 @ time: 04:36AM
Author: gebraset

ASUS has officially announced the ROG GR8S Steam Machine, which brings together the company’s renowned ROG branding with Valve’s Steam Machine design. The unit, which is roughly the size of an Xbox One and features ASUS' signature red and black ROG product design, offers gamers the ability to fully enjoy PC gaming in a living room environment. The ASUS ROG GR8S Steam Machine includes a variety of internal hardware configurations, but offers consumers up to an Intel Core i7 processor, GeForce GTX 900 "Maxwell" graphics, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with a Miracast receiver, and a 1TB HDD or a 512GB SSD. Connectivity wise, the ASUS ROG GR8S Steam Machine offers four USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports, two USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, and digital and analog multi-channel audio connectivity.

Source: TechPowerUp


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Watching Dendrites Grow

Posted: March 9, 2015 @ time: 05:31AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Personally I have never had a battery burst into flames, but I have had some swell on me, and lose performance. The reason this happens is to do with tiny structures called dendrites that form within lithium-ion batteries, and have proven somewhat difficult to stop. Researchers at ORNL, however, have now, for the first time, imaged the formation of these structures in real time, which could help defeat them one day.

As the name suggests, lithium-ion batteries use lithium ions to store energy and normally they stay in solution or in one of the electrodes. Sometimes though, they will collect together to form solid structures called dendrites. As the dendrites grow, they may puncture the protective layer between the electrodes, causing a short circuit. Obviously this is a bad thing, which is why a lot of work has been done to protect against them, but the ORNL researchers are the first to directly image dendrites forming. To do this, they created an electrochemical cell to mimic the inside of a lithium-ion battery, applied a voltage, and had it under a scanning transmission electron microscope. The result was a series of images showing how the dendrites develop, at high resolution.

Typically studies concerning how a battery fails, wait until after the battery does, but this research and method allows researchers to watch the process unfold. This new approach could aid in the development of additives and new separators to prevent dendrites and preserve batteries better.

 

 

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: March 9, 2015 @ time: 08:57AM
Author: bp9801

A new week is upon us, with some new items for you to check out to get it started right. There is a review of the Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV case, a smaller case that still manages to pack in plenty of features for any build. We also have the SilverStone Strider Gold S Series 750W power supply, which is a fairly compact PSU with fully modular cables and an 80 PLUS Gold rating. If you just need to hear your games better, then maybe the Corsair Gaming H1500 Dolby Gaming Headset, with its 7.1 Dolby Pro Logic IIx surround, is for you. Finishing off for the day is a review of the Alienware 15 gaming laptop, which has plenty of customization options to get you the exact laptop you need.

Cases
Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV @ ThinkComputers

Power Supplies
SilverStone Strider Gold S Series 750W @ PC Perspective

Speakers/Headphones
Corsair Gaming H1500 Dolby Gaming Headset @ Madshrimps

Laptops/Tablets
Alienware 15 @ TechSpot


Complete Story


Combining Light and Sound for Better Signal Processing

Posted: March 9, 2015 @ time: 02:01PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For a long time, researchers have been working to develop better ways to process signals, such as turning to optics from electronics for smaller sizes and greater bandwidths. By incorporating acoustics as well, it may be possible to push the boundaries even farther, and now Yale University researchers have created a device that can manipulate both photons and phonons.

We may not think much about sound for use in computers, since the waves travel so slow, but they can store information for longer and in a smaller space than optical signals can. With circuits that can control both, the Yale researchers are able to get the best of both worlds. Not only that, but the size of their circuitry is small enough that it can be integrated into microchips, allowing for more efficient storage, filtering, and manipulation of signals.

Source: Yale University


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